The voice of reason.
In the last post I wrote about how world government could improve safety and security, and protect people’s rights. This would not magically solve the problem. Civil war and sectarian strife would still exist, however, I believe a global government will be better equipped to deal with these issues than our current system.
In this post I will try to address some questions brought up in the comments on the previous post. Some of the questions I received regarded the possibility of a world government being used, not to protect and secure freedom, but rather to oppress. It appears that when people talk about world government it conjures images of a massive conspiracy or some dystopian nightmare of totalitarian oppression. (For evidence just google ‘one world government’).
There is no reason why a government at that encompasses the entire world would necessarily be more oppressive than a national government. Any government has the potential to oppress and terrorize as well as to guarantee and protect freedom. The question is not one of geographic scale. It, instead, relates to the scope and power of government.
Instituting a government of any kind involves taking a chance. There is always the risk that it may be subverted or manipulated and used with ill intent. These risks can be mitigated through the use of a written constitution, by placing limitations on governmental power, and by having a written bill of rights. One of the key aspects to limiting power within a global government would be the decentralization of power. Power and authority should be divided between the global federal government and the states (countries). Additionally power should be divided among different branches of government. The usual mechanisms that check and limit power within a nation-state would also serve the same function in a world government.
In reality, there is nothing that could be done that would 100% guarantee the survival of a democratic government or prevent a military coup. I believe that even in the USA, a military take over of the government would be possible. If enough people within the army were somehow persuaded to follow and take orders from a general instead of the president, such a coup could be carried out. Why does this not happen? Why hasn’t it happened? Is it because soldiers who voice their politics too publicly are reprimanded? Is it due to faith in democracy? Ultimately, I don’t know. I do not know how a military coup could be definitively prevented. Maybe education is key: teach kids from a young age to cherish and value democracy and civil society. There are, however, numerous examples of successful democratic societies that have avoided such pitfalls. I believe that a world government could do so too. Although, one key difference, between national democracies and a hypothetical global democracy, is that national states are comparatively homogenous.
The challenge of creating a world government, therefore, would not be avoiding tyranny (which is always a goal of democratic government), instead it would be cohesion. There are numerous free democratic societies that have successfully balanced power and freedom. So, the challenge would be to create a government that takes immense diversity and forges it into a cohesive system.
Most of the criticism that I received indicated that people did not think that a global government was practical/workable. Surprisingly, most people qualified their doubts with a “yet.” The world is not ready “yet.” In my next couple of essays on the topic of global government I will continue to argue why we need it. Then, I will turn to the issue of workability, and I will argue why I think it is workable under our current conditions. And for those who are not persuaded, I will include some ideas about how the world could be made ready.